Independence Day is tomorrow and I hope you are all enjoying a well-deserved long weekend filled with tons of activities with your family and friends! As you look forward to the parades, fireworks, countless hours outdoors, and many celebrations, try to incorporate healthy eating into your weekend festivities. Your family and friends will welcome the refreshing, colorful, and nourishing options.
There are many, simple ways to incorporate healthy alternatives into your traditional Independence Day menu. For example, you can add color to drinking water by freezing red and blue berries in ice cubes. You can even throw some red fruits (watermelon, apples, or strawberries) onto the grill. My favorite red, white, and blue recipes are the Festive Four-Layer Dip, Red-White-and-Blue Fruit Skewers, and the Happy Fourth Berries and Froyo Parfaits.
Incorporating red, white, and blue fruits and vegetables into your meals gives you a double education opportunity. It allows you to explain the importance of healthy alternatives and lifestyles. It also provides the opportunity to teach your kids interesting historical facts about the United States! One of my colleagues recently created a how-to video to help your kids prepare two fun, easy, and budget-friendly recipes (mostly) on their own. Veronica is finishing her master's degree at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health so I can assure you that she knows her stuff!
Click here to view the video and play it for your children as they prepare the delicious treats. Not only will they feel accomplished that they can contribute to the July 4th menu, but they will also learn some interesting educational and nutrition facts.
Here are some other topics that you can cover throughout the weekend as you celebrate the United States:
? Explain that each color on the flag, Old Glory, is important and has a specific meaning. White: purity & innocence. Red: valor & bravery. Blue: vigilance, perseverance, & justice.
? Tell them the flag has 50 stars to represent the 50 states of the United States. Explain that the original flag had 13 stars, for the 13 colonies, and as states joined the country, a star was added to the flag.
? Explain that on July 4th we celebrate our Independence from Great Britain. On July 4th, 1776, the founding fathers, the men and women that fought for our freedom, read the Declaration of Independence to the people of Philadelphia. This famous document officially started the American Revolution.
? After the 13 colonies won their independence from England, they officially became the United States of America once they all approved the Constitution. The Constitution is a document that stated how the new country would be governed by the people, for the people. It was the first of its kind and has been a model for other countries ever since.
? Together, you can research where you can find certain ingredients from your recipes throughout the United States.
? Lastly, take advantage of berry season in many states to go strawberry and blueberry picking before making the recipes!
I hope you and your kids enjoy these healthy alternatives and that you all have a great holiday weekend.